Breaking Stereotypes

Video Transcript

The thing to understand is you are in someone else's culture. That doesn't necessarily make what they say or do right, but in the same sense, you also have to find that balance between 'I'm in their culture, this is how it is,' accepting it, but also making sure that you are not being bullied or put down upon. Again, that's where you want to reach out to...if you ever feel uncomfortable because of your personal identity—whether that's within your host family or within your classroom or the country in general—that's something that you want to immediately make known to any sort of advisor individual that you work with, because making it a safe environment for you is very important. But you also need to understand that countries are different and countries are accepting at different rates. I would say one of the best things that you can do if...don't necessarily go out with an evangelical mindset like, 'Oh, you have this stereotype. Well, I'm gonna change your mind,' and force it, but there are ways of actually changing people's mind by your daily actions. So being polite with your host family, how you engage and interact with your friends, how you present yourself in public spaces. There are ways to break those down without directly attacking them.

A Boren program representative discusses being stereotyped while in a host country.